Monthly Archives: November 2012

Denzel Washington’s “Flight” Takes Off

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Denzel Washington’s “Flight” Takes Off
© NaimaLett.com/blog



© Paramount, Flight with Academy Award winner Denzel Washington

Two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington…
is all the buzz again in Hollywood these days.

By the PR campaigns currently flooding our industry, it looks like a pretty serious Oscar race is gearing up between Denzel for his new film Flight and another two-time Academy Award winner, Daniel Day Lewis, for Lincoln. May the best Academy Award winner win!

As Promised…

As I promised yesterday in my blog, Rise of the Guardians: Two Thumbs Up, in response to your inquiries about my opinion on different films, I will share my thoughts periodically on the latest movies, especially building up to Academy Awards season.

FLIGHT

Paramount’s Flight takes off with a bang and brings us along for its bumpy ride.

The official film synopsis reads as follows:
In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award® winner, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane?

Moral Ambiguity

Flight’s Academy Award winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, The Polar Express) describes the film as a “complex drama with moral ambiguity”.

I agree.
Sure, there’s the “big budget” 20-minute crash sequence that we’ve all heard about which allows the producers to tout this as an action thriller made for a mere $31 million. But at its heart, this film is a “complex drama with moral ambiguity”. And it’s that moral ambiguity that Paramount is counting on to win audiences.

But for those of us with moral compasses pointing north, ambiguity can be frustrating. We want to pull for Denzel’s Whip Whitaker, but he’s making harmful choices. He’s not Training Day Denzel, but he’s definitely not Glory Denzel either. He’s in the middle and Hollywood tends to like that.

I found myself talking out loud to the screen like “C’mon!” Without giving the plot away, let’s just say that Denzel is so believable in the role, that if I had seen him when the movie was over, I would’ve been tempted to tap him on the back of the head like, “What were you thinking?”

The last time I had that kind of reaction was for 2008’s The Hurt Locker‘s explosive expert played by Jeremy Renner. Jeremy has since moved on to several other movies including The Avengers, but every time I see him, I have a visceral reaction because of Hurt Locker.

That’s why Denzel will be nominated.
Because we have a visceral reaction which lingers long after the last frame.

One Caution, Maybe Two

Flight is Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence. This is definitely not the Friday night Family Fun joint for the kids.

The film opens with full frontal female nudity for a good chunk of the first scene, for no reason whatsoever, but to bring that “shock value” that screenwriters believe they have to use to hook their audience. And why is it always female nudity? Could it be because of male writers, male directors, male producers, male studio heads are making movies for themselves? Denzel wasn’t naked for the first 4 minutes of the film. Just saying.

Lots of Christians ask me how Denzel, who is very vocal about his Christian faith, can do films with characters with such moral ambiguity. I mean, Denzel just told The Hollywood Reporter that “he studies the Bible daily and says he has just been pondering Psalm 56, with its plea: “Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; the fighting daily oppresseth me.”

When he got the script for Training Day, Denzel reportedly wrote across the top, “The wages of sin is death”. If you don’t recognize that, it’s from Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Does that allow him to play such rogue characters with no morality? Does this reflect a moral ambiguity in his own life?

Here’s what I believe. Denzel is an actor. He chooses films, many times, with redemptive story lines, but he also plays incredibly flawed individuals… because we are all incredibly flawed individuals. He is reflecting back to society what we are: fallen.

Now, as a pastor who has had a career as an actor, I cannot do the same. You would not take God’s Word coming out of my mouth seriously if I stripped naked onscreen and cursed everybody out. Be honest. You would crucify me. Which is why I’ve had the body of work I’ve had, and why Denzel has the body of work he has. At one point, he says he thought he’d be a preacher. Then he received a prophecy and he went into acting. The rest is history.

Go Fly

If you go experience Flight, and it is an experience, you will definitely take a ride. Other standout performances include John Goodman, Don Cheadle and Melissa Leo. And hey, let me know what you think!

Onward & upward,
Naima

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Rise of the Guardians- 2 Thumbs Up

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Rise of the Guardians – 2 Thumbs Up
© NaimaLett.com/blog



© Dreamworks new 3D release “Rise of the Guardians”

You know a film’s a winner…
when both me and my husband give it ‘2 Thumbs Up’.

We both love action adventure, superb storytelling and art that inspires truth and hope.

Dreamworks’ new 3D animated release, Rise of the Guardians, gave us all 3.

I get tons of inquiries about my opinion on different films, and I’ve been sharing periodically in my blogs. I’ll do my best to be more consistent, especially during this build up to Academy Awards season when we see so many screenings each week. So, I’ll start with Guardians since we just saw it night before last, and I’ll catch you up on the others. Deal?!

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians is being billed as “the perfect holiday family film” (Deadline Hollywood).

The official film synopsis reads as follows:
When an evil spirit called Pitch becomes bent upon taking over the world by inspiring fear in the hearts of kids everywhere, a group of our greatest heroes — Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost — band together for the first time, determined to stand in Pitch’s way and protect the innocence of children all around the world. More than a collection of storybook subjects, “The Guardians” are also a band of superheroes, who possess their own special powers. Now joined in opposition of a common foe, the Guardians heed the call and combine their powers to defeat Pitch and protect the world from his campaign of fear.

A Little Skeptical

You’re probably thinking the same thing I was:
Since when did Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost become our greatest heroes? Seriously, we’re not talking DC Comics’ Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman or Marvel Comics’ X-Men, Iron Man and the Hulk. What was Santa going to do? Ho, Ho, Ho on somebody?

I admit I was a little skeptical.

And it made me even more nervous when they hired stars like Hugh Jackman aka Wolverine to play the Easter Bunny, Academy Award nominee Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes‘ Dr. Watson) for Pitch, Chris Pine (Star Wars) for Jack Frost, and Academy Award nominee Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) for Santa. Really?

Get ’em, Santa!

Without giving away too much, I was pleasantly surprised that the story worked. We laughed out loud. We rooted for our heroes. At one point I heard myself shouting, “Get’ em Santa!” Kevin is no longer embarrassed by my outbursts. After 11 years of marriage, he’s used to it.

And there are several powerful themes:
1) Find your center, who you’re born to be i.e. your purpose. You know I love that one!
2) Stand up to fear.
3) We still have faith/belief, even when we can’t tangibly see evidence, and
4) Sacrificing ourselves for others is the greatest love of all.

Sound familiar?
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

One Caution, Maybe Two

It is a great holiday family film, but one caution would be to know how your kids deal with evil characters before you haul 3-year old Jackie or Kareem to the movie theater. Pitch (as in Pitch Dark) aka the Boogey Man gives kids nightmares. His dark horses are scary looking. Please show little Rocky the trailer first and figure out how he will handle those images flying at him in 3D. OK?!

And before you send me emails denouncing how a Minister of the Gospel could give such a glowing review of a film that elevates Santa and the Easter Bunny, please know that I am not offended by either. Neither one of them can ever replace our Savior Jesus or His birth or His death and resurrection. I don’t get all twisted up over mythical characters. I’m a storyteller and I recognize the power of story in transforming our lives, just as Jesus did.

In my earlier blog, Turkeys Yield to Santa, I explain how Christians took over a secular holiday and absorbed pagan festivals when deciding when to celebrate Christmas. Santa Claus was created to immortalize the 4th century Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (Turkey) who was known for secretly giving gifts to those in need. I use every opportunity of Santa to tell folks about Saint Nicholas. And by the time the Easter Bunny tells folks in the movie that Easter is about new life and new beginnings and hope, it’s a wrap!

A Bonus: Film Makes History!

To top it all off, Rise of the Guardians makes history. Peter Ramsey (pictured above) is the first African-American director of a big-budget computer-generated (CG) animation film. When interviewed by NPR, and asked about being a person of color in Hollywood, Ramsey says, “If you make something that people want to see and that they connect to on a deep level, then that’s something that anyone should be able to do, and there shouldn’t be any more discussion. You know, more than anything else, I would think that that’s what me being here is all about.”

Kudos to Peter Ramsey!
And also to Nancy Bernstein and Christina Steinberg (also pictured above) who were the 2 producers who happened to be women. I’m really celebrating Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks right now and the opportunities for minorities. Go forth!

If you get a chance to see it, let me know what you think!
Onward & upward,
Naima

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Timing is Everything re: Two and a Half Men Controversy

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Timing is Everything re: Two & 1/2 Men Controversy
© NaimaLett.com/blog



© source, Two and a Half Men’s Angus T. Jones

Timing is everything.

These 3 words wrap up this 2.5 Men controversy to me.

If we can learn anything from this story heard round the world, it’s that we should be encouraged to consider the best timing for everyone involved in a project BEFORE we release the project.

I may be in the minority on this one, but I don’t really think that Two and a Half Men actor Angus T. Jones is being persecuted for his faith. I know firsthand what it is like to have to stand for one’s faith and lose a job because of it. I actually think this is just a case of poor timing.

As I stated in yesterday’s blog, Two and a Half Men Star Shares His Story, I believe that the interview’s producer, Forerunner Chronicles – an end-times ministry in Alabama, could’ve used better judgment in their stewardship over Angus’ testimony and the timing of its release.

As soon as Angus said “I accepted God last December,” I would’ve shut the cameras off. I cannot think of a reason for a mature spiritual leader to put a babe in the faith in a position to have to publicly defend his new-found faith while still trying to figure it out.

The Best Timing

Perhaps moving forward, we can all learn:
1) the best time to notify an employer of our desire to leave our job is before it’s released on a YouTube video :=)

2) the best time to leave an acting job is when the contract expires. In this case, it’s like 6 months, unless conditions have become unbearable… which seems unlikely since Angus’ screen time had already been drastically reduced this season to one Skype scene per episode with his character being deployed in the military, and

3) the best time to interview a babe in faith about their testimony is long after they’re no longer a babe. Let ’em walk more than a year in their faith. Just saying.

Apology

Angus did issue an apology by way of his PR firm yesterday and stated, “I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked over the past ten years and who have become an extension of my family.”

That was gracious, especially since studio insiders say they were blindsided by his statements and had no idea that he no longer wanted to be on the show.

I pray that the ministry involved will come to the conclusion at some point that it could apologize to Angus for how they handled this whole situation.

I’ve been meditating a lot on Philippians 2 lately. Verse 3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

This is not always easy, but it’s our calling. We are to walk in humility and value others above ourselves. And we as leaders must value those who’ve been entrusted to our care above our own interests.

That’s all I’m saying on this, Fam.
Pray for us. We all need your prayers.

Onward & upward,
Naima

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Two and a Half Men Star Shares His Story

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Two and a Half Men Star Shares His Story
© NaimaLett.com/blog



© source



Everybody’s got a right to share their story.

While I affirm CBS’ Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones for sharing his story of faith, I sure do wish that the producers of the video would’ve cared a little more for Angus, his youth in the faith, and how they released his story.

I woke up early this morning to the entertainment headline trending “Two and a Half Men’s Angus T. Jones Trashes Show, Calls CBS Comedy “Filth””. Basically, Angus did a 30-minute interview for an end-times ministry recounting his testimony over the last year in which he accepted God and found a home within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Within that interview, Angus spent a couple of minutes expressing how his new understanding of the Bible has led him to conclude that shows like Two and a Half Men are filth, how he wants to leave the show, and how he wants folks to stop watching the show. Of course, that’s the 2-minute clip that made headlines.

I then started getting emails from all of you asking if I’d seen the story. I had to sit with it for a little while though because I wasn’t having the same response as some believers.

There were lots of high-fives and “Way to tell ’em, Angus!” comments, but my first reaction was not glee. Instead, I felt deep disappointment.

Why are we so pressed?

You know me. I’m fully committed and vocal that every believer should stand for their faith. I’ve done so time and time again. Kudos to Angus for sharing his faith.

I am, however, disappointed in Forerunner Chronicles, the group who interviewed Angus and released the video. [UPDATE 11/29/12: The Seventh-day Adventist Church just issued a press release clarifying that “Forerunner Chronicles is not a ministry operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its host is not a pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”] I tried to leave a voice mail, but the box is full. I sent an email and I’m waiting for a response. I would love to chat with them and figure out why this interview was so pressing to release right now:

1) before Angus even told Warner Brothers of his desire to leave the show
2) before Angus’ one year contract ran out and he could simply choose not to renew it, and
3) before Angus even reached one year in his faith walk!

There’s a Journey

How many parents would take their child, who is not even 1 years old, and put them in a position to have to defend themselves and their beliefs? The child has just learned how to walk and talk, much less debate in front of a million YouTube viewers (At count, one video is posting 903,755 and the other 150,625).

As mature spiritual leaders, we are called to protect our babes in the faith. It is our responsibility to disciple, teach and walk alongside them as they mature. And we must use discernment in how we release them to the masses.

Peter and the other disciples walked with Jesus for 3 years before they were commissioned to “Go make disciples…” (Matthew 28:20)

In Galatians 1:11-2:5, Paul recounts how when he became a Christian, “I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas (Peter) and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother… Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ… Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain…”

If Paul took 3 years to learn the faith before going public and an additional 14 years to walk it out and be tested in his teaching, surely, surely we can encourage our babes to take more than a year before giving them the heavy responsibility to speak on behalf of the faith worldwide.

Another way

There is always another way.

Angus reached out to Forerunner Chronicles initially because he had questions about the faith. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity for an interview and flying from Alabama to Los Angeles to video Angus on the Warner Brothers lot in his trailer, perhaps the ministry could’ve simply answered Angus’ questions about his faith.

Or, if the ministry absolutely HAD to secure this interview, they could’ve edited the Two and a Half Men comments out until Angus had the opportunity to take the proper steps to notify his employers of his desire to leave the show. It’s the least they could do. They could’ve advised Angus to talk to his agent, manager, lawyer and team to set the wheels in motion. He could give the show a heads up that he wants to released from his $350,000 per episode contract and give them a chance to respond.

In a recent article, Angus “expressed frustration over his character’s reduced screen time this season” with his character only doing “one scene Skype calls”. Could that not have been God’s providential hand moving on behalf of Angus to distance him from the show and give him an easy out when it was time to decline renewing his contract?

Who does this story actually benefit?

Who benefits from this “Hollywood is filth” story? I think the only ones who really like it are believers who want a reason to bash Hollywood instead of praying for us.

I have been misquoted numerous times this year alone by folks who want to push the “us versus them” agenda. That only works if you don’t actually live here or minister here or love artists like God loves artists. People have put words in my mouth that I have not said. I am here, shepherding artists every day and helping them navigate this industry without compromising their faith.

There are thousands of Christians here in Hollywood, who love our Lord, and stand for our faith, and are following in the footsteps of Jesus including dining with tax collectors and sinners and seeking to save those who are lost. We have given up everything for Christ. Yet, we respect our fellow artists enough to go to them in private and express our concerns before they read about it in the morning headlines.

I do hope that Forerunner will give us a call.
I hope to talk to Angus at some point. It’s a small world.
Either way, I invite you to pray for us.
Pray for all of us, and especially those of us who are leaders.

We must put other’s needs before our own (Phil 2),
Naima

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Turkeys Yield to Santa

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Turkeys Yield to Santa
© NaimaLett.com/blog


Santa crosses palm trees in the Hills, © source

Turkeys yield to Santa in the Hills!

Pilgrims give way to palm tree-passing reindeer.
Pumpkins are replaced by icicles & bells.
Poems are now jollies and jingles spilling from boutiques and cafes.

Christmas is upon us.

As I walked to the post office, I almost tripped over strings of lights spilling from the salon next door. I had a moment of glee: “It’s Christmas!”

I’ve always loved this time of year: music, family, food, and the celebration of our faith.

Thanksgiving kicks us off. Then, we look up and see the famous Saint Nicholas aka Nikolaos the Wonderworker aka Santa Claus flying cross the intersection of Wilshire and Beverly Drive.

Christmas in LaLa Land is a little different.

First, it’s not that cold. (Praise the Lord!, says this Georgia Peach) There’s no snow or ice. Fashionistas wear boots and furs for no other reason except to look cute.

Second, there’s always drama!
Hollywood’s still all aflutter with news of the holiday brawl at Halle’s home in the hills between her ex and fiance. All I can offer is the following advice: Violence is not the answer. But if you unwisely decide to start a fight and take a swing at another dude, you may want to be sure that you can actually hold your own… or else you might end up with a broken rib, black eye, arrest for battery, restraining order and court date for December 13th. Just saying.

And third, movies, movies, movies!
Oscar season picks up and we get to see lots of free screenings of all the contenders. It’s not unusual to screen 3-5 films per week. And they’re usually the best films of the year because the studios save their best for last. What a treat!

But, Christmas is also the same.

Even with its differences, Christmas also stays the same all over the world. It’s the time of year that we as a family of faith model the life of the real 4th century Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (Turkey) who was known for secretly giving gifts to those in need.

We celebrate Jesus the Christ’s advent into the earth and model His humility by caring for the needs of others.

Yesterday, I preached on Philippians 2:3-11, which says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Christmas is the perfect time to model Christ’s humility and value others above ourselves.

Turkeys Yield to Santa

I know some Christians who really don’t like it when the turkeys yield to Santa. They see it as a holy day of Thanksgiving being trampled over by the secularization of Christmas. But in all honesty, history reveals that Christians took over a secular winter solstice holiday when Pope Julius I chose to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, around 350 AD, and adopted and absorbed a popular pagan festival. Nobody knows the actual date that Jesus was born, but we celebrate it none-the-less. Doesn’t bother me.. Does it bother you?

Santa doesn’t bother me either. He’s everywhere. Macy’s. Lexus. Salvation Army. I’m sure there’s a Santa right now taking pictures with tourists for tips on Sunset Boulevard. Why not use the infiltration of Santa to talk about the real Saint Nic and the real spirit of giving that Christmas is based on? Why not ask folks if they know who Santa is based on and tell them the story? Do you know it? If not, look it up.

I waste no opportunity to reveal truth to folks.
I encourage you to do the same.
And we can use every reference, secular and sacred, that we have!
And have fun doing it!

Move over turkey. There’s a saint and a savior we need to tell folks about!
Naima

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Still Giving Thanks

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Still Giving Thanks
© NaimaLett.com/blog



©source

Hi Fam!

Hope you received our Happy Thanksgiving message a couple of days ago.
We’re still on holiday & still giving thanks. Won’t you do the same?

As Psalm 106:1 says, let’s first “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
I am also grateful for life, family, an awesome Thanksgiving holiday with family, and the privilege to daily do what I’m born to do. What about you?

What are you grateful for?
Lots of love from LaLa Land,
Naima

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Happy Thanksgiving!

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Happy Thanksgiving!
© NaimaLett.com/blog



©Peanuts, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving [1:30]


Happy Happy, Fam!
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Remember A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving? Anybody else ever wonder why it was OK for Snoopy’s Thanksgiving meal to consist of buttered toast, popcorn, pretzels and jelly beans? I just looked back on that clip (above) and thought, “Wow! That looks like a kid’s candy heaven!” LOL!

What a year, Fam! So much to be grateful for!
First of all, THANK YOU for all of your prayers and well wishes. Mad appreciation!
We’ve reached THE BIG 10 years of Kevin being cancer-free! Praise God! We are celebrating. I finished up doctorate classes over the summer. Now I’m researching and aspiring to become “the expert” on Hollywood’s values and beliefs for my dissertation.

And THANK YOU for your love and support, for reading and interacting with this daily blog re: all things faith, current events & Hollywood, for your well wishes on the acting and producing gigs, upcoming book and speaking engagements, and especially for praying for & supporting H0PE IN THE HILLS, for our wonderful board and lay leaders, for your encouragement, tax-deductible gifts, emails, calls, Facebook posts, etc.

We are honored to serve and continue making a difference, and I am thrilled to keep helping artists find their purpose and follow their dreams while deepening their faith.

In the words of Apostle Paul: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family, friends, food & fun.

Lots of love from LaLa Land,
Naima

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Ready for Homecoming-Going?!

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Ready for Homecoming-Going?!
© NaimaLett.com/blog



Howard University “Showtime” Marching Band, ©Kevin Coles)

HOMECOMING!

A few months ago, I wrote “Oh, What a Homecoming!”
Here’s a short excerpt from the beginning of that post:

Now THAT’S a Homecoming!
A celebration! Back-bends! Music! Festivities!

My undergraduate alma mater, Howard University, knows how to throw a homecoming. There’s a parade, step show, fashion show, gospel show, comedy show, music concert, coronation ball, yard fest, celebrities, parties, parties, parties. And all of that is for a football game. A. football. game. Students and alumni from all over the world “come home” to celebrate.

HOMECOMING-GOING!

Today, my husband’s family will gather from all over the country and state and “come home” (so to speak) to celebrate Aunt Mary’s home-going (to heaven).

That’s right.
It’s a homecoming-going!
I’m sure I just made that word up. But it works, right?

I doubt that there will be any actual back-bends, (though my husband Kevin used to be a drum major in high school and could probably pull it off), but there will be a celebration today. Even though the family is heartbroken, we’re also grateful that we were graced with 60 wonderful years of Aunt Mary’s life, 40 of which she fought and lived with illness.

There’s so much to learn from those who battle long-term challenges like lupus. It’s often hard for family and friends to understand how much the patient is actually hurting because many times he/she doesn’t look sick. Aunt Mary was gorgeous and meticulous. Most will never know how much she really endured through the years… except her devoted husband Lee whom she met at the age of 12 and married at the age of 17, and her beautiful daughter Raechelle whom she loved more than life.They know how hard she fought, and she told them when she was ready to go home, and that she did.

HOME-GOING!

When Jesus was crucified unjustly on a cross between 2 criminals, one of them humbly requested, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus’ reply was simple: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

In the very second that Aunt Mary departed from this world, because she had trusted Jesus to be her only means to eternal life with our heavenly Father, that very minute, she was with Jesus in paradise.

When it’s time for you to go, can you say the same?

Are you ready for your homecoming-going?
No regrets?

When a loved one’s life on this side of heaven comes to an end, these are the questions that come up. We don’t have to run from them. We can face mortality with certainty, knowing that this part of the journey is just temporary. It’s the dress rehearsal before the big show. And what we do now really does matter then.

Thanks for your prayers.
I am honored to co-officiate and share the eulogy.
It’ll be a real homecoming-going!

Lots of love from the LaLa,
Naima

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Leap Friday

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
LEAP FRIDAY
© NaimaLett.com/blog



© Vogue, by Arthur Elgort, source

Anybody down for a Leap Friday?!

I’m in.
Leaping into the weekend.
Leaping into the holidays.
Leaping, period.

I’m so glad 2012 is winding down. :=) The last 4 years have been a press, and I’m so ready to leap into 2013 and see what’s in store.

Anybody feel that way too?

I’m feeling Paul’s declaration in his letter to Philippians, Chapter 3 in which he says:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things… I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Candidly speaking, I do want to know Christ more; but mainly though in the power of His resurrection. Not so much in the participation of His sufferings. Who wants to suffer?
In my best Ferris Bueller’s Day Off impression, “Anyone? Anyone?”

But the more I go through on this side of heaven, the more I realize that all of it – the ups & downs, the in’s and out’s, the resurrection and suffering – all of it is a part of this journey. Jesus’ resurrection came by way of a wooden cross. But in that moment, when God raised Him from the dead, He conquered death forever for all of us. That’s something to leap over!

Forgetting what is behind, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

When we’ve been pressed, let’s choose to press forward.

You’re welcome to join me.

I can’t promise you fame. Can’t promise you fortune. But I can promise that there’s hardly a dull moment. There’s mega-maturing. There’s fulfillment, making a difference in the lives of others and doing what we’re born to do. There’s lots of seeing folks lives transformed supernaturally through the power of God. We have a heavenly Father who is faithful, honest and steadfast. He stands by His Word. And when His Son says “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, He means it.

We’re not sheltered from the super storms of life. But we’re not alone as we weather them. Some times, in the storm, we witness Jesus rebuke winds and speak to waves and say, “Hush! Be still!”

Other times, when the strong winds blow and waters get rough, we look up and see Jesus walking on the water. He doesn’t calm the wind, but he says “Come!”, and we get to defy nature, get out the boat and walk on water too.

Let’s do this.
Forgetting what lies behind, let’s press forward.
Let’s leap forward,
Naima

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Scandal: What’s Your Story?

DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
Scandal: What’s Your Story?
© NaimaLett.com/blog



© Former 4-Star General David Petraeus, Kerry Washington, Elmo, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Scandal!

Is life imitating art?
Or art imitating life?

What do you think?

Within one week, former CIA director & Retired 4-Star General David Petraeus, U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Elmo’s Emmy Award-winning puppeteer of 28 years Kevin Clash, all look like they could’ve originated guest-star storylines on ABC’s history-making hit drama Scandal.

– Petraeus resigned from the CIA after news hit he was having an affair with his biographer.
– Jackson is a no-show to Congress as rumors swirl that he’s negotiating a deal to resign in the midst of allegations of misuse of campaign funds on a mistress and home furnishings.
– And Clash had to take leave from Sesame Street and Elmo to combat accusations of sleeping with a 16-year old boy, which is legally underage in the state of New York.

See what I mean! Scandal!

Art imitates life?

Seems like art imitates life, right?

Why? Because I can’t imagine that the top public officials who are gracing our front pages and news feeds with the sordid details of what Petraeus calls “moral failings” are not watching ABC and saying, “I can get away with that!” Instead, screenwriters are capitalizing off the salacious stories and saying, “They didn’t get away with that! Let’s use it!”

ABC’s Scandal (the first network drama ever written by, based on, and starring African-American women) is captivating our country on Thursday nights 10PM ET and getting rave reviews because creator, executive producer, head writer and three-time Emmy-nominated Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) is ripping story lines from real-life headlines: politicians, public figures, adulterous affairs, underage affairs, $40,000 watch affairs.

A recent article explains that “Scandal is inspired by the real-life story of Judy Smith, the noted African-American political-crisis-management expert and former White House aide. Smith’s work over the years has included cooling the fires of such high-profile controversies as Monica Lewinsky, Michael Vick’s dog-fighting charges, and the disappearance of D.C. intern Chandra Levy.” Smith got her first job at the White House after advising a friend on the Iran-contra hearings. She then worked as special assistant and deputy press secretary to President George H.W. Bush before starting her own company.

Shonda Rhimes has proven that she has an incredible imagination over her stellar career as a writer and producer. But we best believe that her team is using Judy Smith’s crisis management history and real news stories as they create this world for award-winning actress Kerry Washington to play in every week.

Definitely, art is imitating life.

What’s Your Story?

Let’s have fun!

If art imitated your life and Shonda Rhimes showed up on your doorstep and wanted to write an award-winning network series about your life, what would the title be?

“Scandal” is already taken! :=)
But seriously, if you could use one word or phrase to sum up your life, what would it be?

– Petraeus’ biography is entitled All In. His series could be All Out?
– Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Like Father, Like Son?
– Kevin Clash: Sesame Alley?

Other past titles are: The Closer, Saving Grace, Breaking Bad, The Fugitive, Good Times, Grace Under Fire, Prison Break, Arrested Development, Friends, Suits, Amen Corner, Revenge, on & on.

Jesus’ story spawned several blockbuster films i.e. The Greatest Story Ever Told, Passion of the Christ. A hit series entitled The Messiah would garner much controversy and probably never make it to air. Jesus was pretty dicey. And His followers, like Him, died for others. Just saying.

Many might be tempted to call Paul’s series The Apostle; but he referred to himself often as The Prisoner (of Christ, or for the Lord) Eph 3:1, Eph 4:1, Phlm 1:1.

Would you watch The Prisoner each week? But what about the rest of Paul’s story? When challenging false apostles and what it means to truly serve Christ, Paul explains in 2 Cor 11:
I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles”… Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 5 times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one. 3 times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, 3 times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

In that light, doesn’t Paul’s story sound very Die Hard?

What’s the name of your story?
Mine is Confessions of a Hollywood Christian. (Coming Soon!)
What’s yours?
Naima

What’s your story?
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